Lady Mohawks Fall to Bearkatz at Regional
For the third year in a row the Lady Mohawks fell to the Lady Bearkatz of Melbourne in the first round of the 3A regional softball tournament, with this year's meeting being played at Harrison. The Melbourne girls took advantage of cold Lady Mohawk bats, and a big sixth inning, in taking the victory 9-3.
The Tribe had advanced to the regional after beating Manila in the second round of the 3A-3 district at Corning, but fell to Rivercrest in the semi-finals and entered the regional's as the four seed.
"We just couldn't hit the ball, we couldn't buy a hit," surmised Lady Mohawk Coach Nikki Speers of the loss. "It wasn't that there pitcher was that good-we just couldn't seem to hit the ball that day."
Bearing testament to Speers' observation was the fact the Tribe was sat down 1-2-3 in the first, third, fourth and seventh innings. The team also wasted some of their offensive output, stranding two runners in the second, one in the fourth and two in the sixth.
The only productive inning offensively for the Lady Mohawks was the fifth, as they scored their three runs in the frame. The inning started with Melinda Blackmon striking out, then McKenzie Hopkins reached on a walk and MaKalia Beck followed that up by drawing a base on balls as well. Devyn Staples then stepped to the plate and smacked a double, driving in Hopkins and Beck. Taylor Choate then struck out, and Kacey Crossfield came up and banged a two-out double to drive-in Staples. Grayson Murray then flied-out to end the threat.
Staples took the loss, as the Lady Mohawks allowed 14 hits while fanning four of the Lady Bearkatz. But, the outing was a strong one, as the Melbourne girls went down 1-2-3 in the first, second and third. They scored their first two runs in the fourth, as Sipe and Smith came around, added two more runs in the fifth inning and then broke things open with five in the sixth.
"I was proud of our girls, I thought they did a good job," Speers said of the effort. "We hate to see these seniors go, but we're a fairly young team and will have a good core of starters back next year."
Speers, and assistant coach Melissa Hopkins-Turner, say goodbye to four seniors who are all starters and impact players. The group includes Melinda Blackmon, Bree Chandler, Kacey Crossfield and Taylor Davis.
But, on the bright side the team will see the return of juniors McKenzie Hopkins and Caroline Rodery; sophomores Devyn Staples, Shelby Morgan, MaKalia Beck, Taylor Choate, Tara Vaughn and Allison Moffitt and this year's crop of freshmen, Grayson Murray, Brooke Moore and Elizabeth Hobbs.
"We've also got some pretty good young athletes moving up next year, so we're excited about the prospects," Speers surmised of the season.
The Corning Lady Bobcats went on to beat Melbourne 9-5 in one semi-final, while the Harrisburg Lady Hornets downed Rivercrest 15-3 in the other semi on Saturday. Monday afternoon the Lady Hornets shut out Corning 5-0 to take the regional crown, and Rivercrest beat Melbourne 12-6 in the third and fourth place game, as the four teams set the seedings for the upcoming state tourney.